Wednesday, November 22, 2006


It is early afternoon on the day before Thanksgiving as I begin this post. The world of commerce is slowly winding down. It is a beautiful day here in Little Rock. The morning's chill has given in to the warmth of the sun. Rick's brother-in-law is in town. He wants to take him out for a round of golf and has asked me to join them. Sounds like a plan to me.

I don't much like the Holiday season but I'm OK with Thanksgiving. I'm not a big eater by nature but I like sampling the various vegetable dishes that are available as I don't really make them for myself although I ought to. Every year I say that I will do better in that regard and every year I don't.

I enjoy seeing my relatives. It still takes me aback when I survey the room and see the spaces where Uncle Bill, Aunt Jean and Mother used to be. Mother is still with us but she is not able to travel. Bob won't be there this year. Duty calls over at the hospital. John will be in Jonesboro. If David doesn't come, it will be just me. Which feels kind of strange because, even as given to solitude as I am, I'm not a "just me" person.

I don't know what I would do without my friends and loved ones both near and far. It is a comfort to me to know that when I lock myself out of the house-as I did last night once again-Steve will have the spare key over at his house safely nestled in a drawer under a set of rosary beads. PM and I are thinking about playing some tennis tomorrow. Neither of us have played in forever. Serious fans of the sport should avoid the Little Rock Racquet Club tomorrow in order to be spared this sacrilege. Jen's husband is in town for the week. It is good to hear the excitement in her voice when she talks about their plans. I've been checking with other folks, and them with me, to see who is going to be around after the festivities with both time and booze to share. Got to partner up when the liquor stores are closed. No, try as I might to delude myself to the contrary, I am not a "just me" person. I need these folks and they need me.

If the tennis thing doesn't work out , I'm sure I'll get up and run. Or maybe ride my bike. All the runners and walkers will be out early making room for dinner. We will greet each other along the way as we go by. Every year I meet someone new on Thanksgiving Day. A new boyfriend, a fiancee, a son. They all come out to run out on Kavanaugh on the morning of Thanksgiving. It's warm enough that I can sit out on the porch and drink my coffee while reading the paper. The odds are good that the little girl across the street will come join me. She has a new dog named Rudy. Rudy is of suspect lineage but she is proud of him nonetheless. Around 11 I will head for the country to "take the bird." If this year is like any other year, the phone will ring all along the way with folks calling in from all over.

I'll bring rolls that I got at the bakery as well as a couple of pies that I made. They aren't much good although my friend J praised them to heaven and back. I was feeling pretty good about my product until I was put to low shame last night as I watched her painstakingly frost a triple layer cake, the recipe of which she got out of some goddamned Junior League recipe book from back in Georgia. I think she has around 6 of them.

She confessed to being in the throes of doubt as to whether it was altogether meet and fair to frost the entire cake. And this was before she had wrestled with the Gordian knot of whether to garnish it with nuts. I told her that, back in Mabelvale where I came from, we didn't stand on ceremony too much and helped myself to another whiskey. It's funny. Being a guy, I made an absolute BFD about these sorry assed pies I concocted while half in the bag last Sunday night. J, being a small town Georgia girl, frets over the aesthetics of her handiwork. I know when I am whipped.

So what's there to say about Thanksgiving 2006? I had the occasion to catch up with an old friend I hadn't really talked to in 10-13 years the other day. She asked me how I was. This is what I told her.

" I am healthy. I am happy. I have a roof over my head and a job to go to. I have the best friends any man could hope to have. Ain't nobody got a perfect life. But all in all I have nothing to complain about."

And I am very thankful. May God forgive me whenever I forget how truly blessed I really am.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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